Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 23, 2012

Campaign signs do violate state law

Disclaimers not on Tipton signs.

Tipton — A complaint has been filed with Tipton County Prosecutor Jay Rich regarding the failure of some candidates in the Republican Party primary to include a disclaimer on campaign signs.

State law requires a disclaimer on all yard signs and campaign literature that indicates who paid and authorized for the signs and brochures.

Violators could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor with possible penalties of $5,000 and up to a year in jail.

Several home-made wooden signs throughout Tipton County for candidates Mike Cline and Joe VanBibber, both running for county commissioner; Ed Bell and Carroll Cohee, both running for county council, either did not have or continue not to have the required disclaimer.

Brad King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division, said the state law requires the disclaimer on yard signs to be printed in a 12-point font and on brochures in a seven-point font.

King said there are two ways to file a complaint, directly with the county prosecutor’s office or with the county election board. He said the election board would then decide whether or not to seek the filing of criminal charges with the prosecutor.

It is up to the discretion of local prosecutors on the filing of charges and whether or not to consider each sign without a disclaimer as a separate charge.

“It’s a frequent problem,” King said. “In most instances commercial printers know the disclaimers are required. It’s more common with home-made signs.”

King said the Indiana Election Division fields a number of calls concerning the disclaimers.

He said a few years ago a Jennings County man was imprisoned and fined for not including a disclaimer on a brochure left at the Indiana State House which had a bogus Lake County address.

King said the state believes the disclaimer law is important because it contains information for the public.

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